The number of debt judgments against consumers in England and Wales in the first half of the year rose to its highest level for a decade, according to figures released today by Registry Trust.
The non-profit Registry Trust collects judgment information from jurisdictions across the British Isles and Ireland. In England and Wales, it operates the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines on behalf of the Ministry of Justice. A judgment is incontrovertible proof that debt has not been managed.
There were 419,510 county court judgments (CCJs) recorded against consumers in England and Wales during the first six months of 2016, a year on year increase of 13 percent and the fourth consecutive year of increases.
However, the average value of a CCJ fell 15 percent to £1,833, the lowest figures in the past decade. By contrast the average value of a judgment in the first half of 2008 stood at £3,867.
Over the same six months, the number of judgments against consumers in the High Court fell for the second year in a row, down year on year 37 percent to 108. The total value decreased to its lowest for more than eight years to £60m, with the average value falling to £552,000.
The total value of debt judgments against consumers in all courts in England and Wales during the first half of 2016 was £829m.
“The increase in the number of judgments reflects in part recent buoyancy in lending,” said Registry Trust chairman Malcolm Hurlston CBE. “Another factor is that some creditors are taking action for smaller sums, as shown by the fall in the average debt. Whatever the reason it makes sense for borrowers to pay off in time.”
In the first six months of the year Registry Trust received 76,910 requests to search the register for England and Wales, the bulk of which were made online at www.trustonline.org.uk. TrustOnline allows anyone to search for judgments and similar information registered against consumers and businesses in any jurisdiction across the British Isles and Ireland. “It is a unique benefit for consumers to be able to check the debt record of any person or business with which they may be transacting. Our registers cover the British Isles and Ireland,” said Mr Hurlston. “Negative information should at least give pause for thought.”